Go to YouTube and you can find plenty of videos demonstrating how easy it can be to enter a high-profile event by forging badly designed badges.
These are usually fans finding images of passes online and trying their luck getting into an event they want to be at. But the fact that anyone with a basic grasp of photoshop can re-produce these badges is something we have to take seriously, or risk having to face the consequences of allowing illegal workers, criminals or terrorists into our events.
Some quick fixes to your badge design can make it virtually impossible for anyone to counterfeit a badge and will ensure you know who is in your venue at all times.
- Include a photo
A quick and easy way for your security team to check whether a person is who they say they are, is to include a photo on the badge. No matching photo? No entry.
- Add access permissions
Whether it’s a green badge to signal backstage access, the text ‘PITCH’ added to allow pitch-side entry, or a dinner plate icon to get the catering team into the VIP dining area, make sure access permissions are clear on the badge and that your security team know what it all means.
- Use a unique ID
If you hide a unique ID number for every person in a bar code, QR code or RFID chip, a quick scan at your access control points will instantly be able to tell you if that pass is valid, and whether that person can get through the gates.
- Add anti-counterfeit measures
Holograms, black light ink, or micro printing make it very difficult for anyone to forge a badge or ticket.
- Change designs
Large venues or recurring events are sure to have a high churn of temporary workers. Don’t issue ‘season’ badges for agency staff – changing the colour of your badge for each event will make it easy for your security team to see if anyone is re-using old passes. Even better, issue a new unique ID for staff at every event and a quick scan of the badge will tell you if their pass is valid.
And here are some top tips to make your security team happy…
- Use large format badges to make the visual ID of photos or access zones easy for your security team. No one wants to be squinting at credit card sized passes all day.
- Put something (anything) on the back of the pass. When people share photos of their badges or tickets online, they almost always display the front. No one knows what is on the back.
- Your staff need to know they are prohibited from sharing images of their badges online. If you catch them bragging about their next job at Sunday’s rugby match, they need to go
- Print and distribute badges as late as you can
- Keep designs confidential and don’t allocate unique IDs until the last minute